Reflections on multicultural education: Teachers’ experiences of teaching multicultural classes
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
This thesis investigates teachers’ experiences of and attitudes towards multicultural education and its implementation in Norwegian schools. A further aspiration of this paper is to examine the extent to which teachers adapt their teaching methods to meet the needs of their minority students. The study also aims to examine whether the teachers take into consideration the knowledge of student’s background while choosing the texts and other visual materials for EFL teaching in Norwegian secondary schools. The paper draws on theoretical framework and research on culture and its relation to language, multicultural education- its main principles and dimensions, culturally responsive teaching, and multicultural literacy. The research was qualitative, based on six interviews with lower secondary and upper secondary school teachers, which took place in February 2020. Audio recordings of the interviews and field notes were used to collect data. Based on the qualitative interviews, the present thesis has four main findings. First, the findings of the paper indicated the teachers lacked knowledge and understanding of the concept multicultural education. Second, the findings of the present study indicated that the teachers did not use different teaching methods and strategies to address their minority students. The participants of the present study believed that differentiating their teaching methods to the needs of any particular student group, would make them feel different and excluded. Thus, the participants addressed everyone as “We, Norwegians” or they tried to see and adjust their teaching methods to the needs of an “average student”. Third, the interviews with the teachers revealed that they did not make use of their students’ backgrounds and did not implement multicultural content into their classroom practices. The participants of the study stated that they tried to think about their students’ backgrounds when choosing the materials for the classes. However, by claiming so, the teachers mostly referred to excluding certain material, which they found inappropriate to be taught in culturally diverse classes (e.g., gun ownership, gay marriage, religious holidays). Fourth, all the participants of the present study emphasized the importance of exposing minority students to the materials they would not necessarily respond positively to, which would help them to broaden their horizons and develop respect and tolerance towards various conflicting points of views. The participants reported that, exposing students to various conflicting cultural expressions was a great possibility for arranging class debates and critical discussions. At the same time, none of the participants felt prepared or qualified to lead these discussions and tried to avoid controversial topics which might have led to the discussions the teachers were not prepared to have. Due to the fact that the students’ cultural capital was disregarded and ignored, this resulted in a cultural mismatch between the teachers and minority students’, which led to several incidents of minority students’ negative response to the materials used in class. Thus, this research study argues that a need for a multicultural approach to teaching English, which will acknowledge and exploit the cultural capital of all students in the class.
Master's thesis in Literacy Studies